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Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Connecticut Recruiting Report

VERBAL COMMITMENT ALERT: Ramar Smith, G (Detroit, MI)

Projected 2006-2007 Roster:
Seniors: Marcus Williams (PG), Josh Boone (PF/C)
Juniors: Rudy Gay (SF)
Sophomores: AJ Price (G), Marcus Johnson (WG), Jeff Adrien (F), Craig Austrie (G), Robert Garrison (PG).
Freshmen: Curtis Kelly (BF/C), Will Harris (F), Ramar Smith (G)

Hartford Courant Story on Smith's decision: Smith Picks Huskies.

Links to our previous Connecticut recruiting write-ups: July 8 Report, July 25 Round-Up.

It does not come as much of a surprise that Ramar Smith has pulled the trigger for Connecticut (see linked article from Saturday’s Hartford Courant above). Smith is a 6’3 180 lb combo guard that uses his strength and athletic ability to excel on the court. Smith does need to improve the accuracy of his perimeter shooting, but he has the overall game to be an impact player early on in the Big East. His style of play will be perfect for the system that Jim Calhoun has been so successful with at Connecticut. Smith might also be heading to Connecticut to play his high school ball as there seems to be word that he will enroll at South Kent Prep school for his senior season.

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On the surface, the Smith commitment, along with the late addition to the 2005 class in Robert Garrison, would indicate the Huskies have just two more scholarships available. However, it is a pretty safe bet that among Rudy Gay, Josh Boone and Marcus Williams that more scholarships will open as each player will likely be possible NBA lottery picks in the 2006 NBA draft. Add in the uncertain medical situation of AJ Price, and you can see, the Connecticut recruiting action is still warming up!

It seems that the hottest race is for another big man to team up with previous commitment Curtis Kelly and there are big names interested. The biggest is Spencer Hawes, a 6’11 C from Seattle, WA, who is one of the top players in the country and would be a boon for any program to land. Connecticut seems to be in really good shape and has a very good shot at adding the big fish to the class. Also in the mix are Alex Stepheson and Deon Thompson, and it is interesting to note the similar schools on each of their lists (UConn, UNC and UCLA in on each list and Washington, Arizona and others are very close), so it will be very interesting when these dominoes begin to fall. Connecticut has also been amongst the leaders for athletic BF/C Taj Gibson and they have also evaluated 6’10 230 lb skilled big man Ryan Anderson.

I am still trying to gauge interest in bringing on a point guard in the 2006 class. With Garrison in the fold in the 2005 class, they do have a true PG on the roster and the status of Price and Williams might make a need to add at the point. However, they are already in great shape with a few 2007 point guards that has made me wonder. I think they could land someone like Will Walker out of Illinois or Eugene Harvey of NYC if they were to put the full court press on them. Ramar Smith is a combo guard and UConn is in very good shape with Derrick Jasper, another combo guard out of California.

At the wing, Quincy Pondexter, an AAU teammate of Jasper’s, has seen a rise in the interest from UConn and has really taken his recruitment to another level with several schools. Both Pondexter and Jasper seem to include UConn and Washington as their favorites and Pondexter also has a liking for Arizona, but they have a shortage of grants at this point. There are also three combo forwards with very similar styles in Lance Thomas, Deshawn Sims and Raymar Morgan to consider. Each plays hard and tough near the glass and is working on expanding their games to the wing. Connecticut probably has the best shot at Thomas as he seems willing to let things play out longer and UConn has the room in scholarships to let it all play out, too.

Perimeter shooting is also an area of concentration in their recruitment. In the last month or so, a pair of Oregon natives, Phil Nelson and Seth Tarver, have seen a lot of interest from the Connecticut staff. New Jersey’s Dennis Horner has also been followed a bit by the UConn staff, but he seems to be narrowing things down between Notre Dame, West Virginia and NC St. Jerome Dyson and Donnel Mack are other WG/WF-types that have been watched at times by Calhoun or members of the UConn staff.

Connecticut definitely has what is shaping up to be the conference’s best class. There are still plenty of targets available to UConn that are very interested and Connecticut has the scholarship available to accommodate the interest. I really think they have a great shot at landing one of the top targeted big men in Hawes, Stepheson or Thompson. I will not count them out for Lance Thomas and a combination of Derrick Jasper and Quincy Pondexter would be a tremendous haul for coach Jim Calhoun. I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of a spring addition of a JUCO big man either, someone to add depth to the mix and a little experience since this team has a real possibility of getting very young very quickly. However, like most of the Husky teams under Jim Calhoun, they will be extremely talented.

1 Comments:

At 9:13 PM, Blogger Blog World said...

Look at a day when you are supremely satisfied at the end. It's not a day when you lounge around doing nothing; it's when you've had everything to do, and you've done it.
Lord Acton- Posters.

 

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